Daniel Bryan, former WWE champion and leader of the YES! Movement, has never been shy about his desire to continue wrestling. However, after numerous head and neck injuries, the WWE medical team refuses to clear him for in-ring action. Bryan even went as far as getting numerous second opinions, but the WWE refused to budge, fearing the worst if Bryan somehow became seriously injured (or worse) if he returned to action.
Since then, we’ve seen the tearful retirement speech and, later, a role for Bryan as the general manager of SmackDown Live. However, Bryan has said on multiple occasions that that is the WWE won’t clear him to wrestle, he’ll likely leave the company when his contract expires in 2018.
Bryan doubled down on those comments in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated.
“I’m working on [an in-ring return]. Wrestling is more of a creative outlet, and especially for somebody like me, I view it as my creative outlet. Not all WWE superstars and not all wrestlers view it that way, but that’s how I view it and that’s one of the ways my mind works creatively.
“I always think of it in terms of music. You’re not always going to be a huge rock star in music, but musicians can play until the day they die. With sports, it’s different. You can’t always do it until the very end, and that’s a hard reality of sports. The blessings wrestling has given me have allowed me to find some new passions, but it’s really hard when you’ve got that first love and nothing really replaces it.”
If you watch Total Bellas (and it’s cool if you don’t, because it’s trash), you will have seen Bryan developing a new wrestling style designed to keep him safer — taking less bumps and performing fewer high risk maneuvers.
We sure do miss watching Bryan compete, but if his head and neck are really as bad as doctors say they are, then we actually hope Bryan doesn’t make a return to the ring. It’s just not worth it. Then again, we’ve seen people like Shawn Michaels come back from “career ending” back injuries and put on some of the greatest matches of their career. We’re not doctors and we don’t know the private details of Bryan’s medical records, but we hope he makes the right decision — whatever that may be.